Neuronal and network mechanisms underlying locomotion.


Behavioral Neuroscience requires us to integrate knowledge from molecules and cell properties to the computations performed by neural systems generating behavior. Given the complexity of the mammalian nervous system, the study of the cellular and molecular genesis of neuronal rhythmic activity in a primitive vertebrate, the lamprey, has proved to be extremely valuable. I have studied different aspects of sensory-motor integration in the lamprey at the cellular, molecular and neuronal circuitry levels. I am extending these studies to higher vertebrates.




Dynamics of complex neural systems, rhythmic neural activity and the organization of behavior


Neural rhythmic activity is known to underlie many vital behaviors from digestion, circulation, respiration to locomotion and cognition. I have investigated the functional connectivity underlying the generation of the gamma and theta rhythm, which are involved in the organization of sensory-motor behavior. My goal is to understand how spatio-temporal patterns of neural activity emerge from the complex brain dynamics and what is their behavioral significance for motor pattern generation, sensory-motor integration, and memory-based decision-making actions. I apply analytical tools derived from the theory of dynamical systems to the understanding of the collective interplay between different brain regions in the organization of behavior.




M.D. (Medicine and Psychology) Magna Cum Laude; Central University of Venezuela Caracas (1975)

M.S. (Computer and Information Sciences); University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1981)

Ph.D. (Neurobiology); University of California, Berkeley (1983)

                             Advisor: Walter J. Freeman

                             Title: Olfactory bulb spatial EEG dynamics during classical appetitive conditioning in rabbits.




"J.M. Vargas" School of Medicine, Central University of Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela. (1975-1995).

Instructor in Physiology (1975-78)

Assistant Professor of Physiology (1984-88)

Associate Professor of Physiology (1990-92)

Visiting associate researcher at the Institute of Biomedicine, Central University of Venezuela (1985-1992)

Nobel Institute for Neurophysiology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

            Visiting Research Scientist (1988-90)

Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California.

Postdoctoral Research Associate (1992-93)

Center for Research in Neurological Sciences, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebéc, Canada.

            Visiting Research Scientist (1994-96)

Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, FAU, Boca Raton, Florida.

            Postdoctoral Research Associate (1996-2000)

            Research Assistant Professor (2002-2004)

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

            Research Assistant Professor (2000-2002)

Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.

            Research Scholar (2004-2006)

Department of Neurosciences, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio.

            Research Fellow (2006-2007)

Division of Neurobiology, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona

            Research Associate (2008)


PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES: Regular member of Society for Neuroscience


PUBLICATIONS:  32 research papers in referred journals and 9 book chapters